A 32-FOOT yacht which had ran aground on a sand bank with two occupants on board sparked a joint rescue effort by RNLI crews from Rhyl and Llandudno.

The call was received at 5.20pm on June 5, with both the all-weather and inshore lifeboat crews from Rhyl RNLI being tasked with recovering a vessel that had become stuck on the West Hoyle sandbank off the Point of Ayr, Talacre.

By 5.46pm, both the Rhyl lifeboat crews had located the vessel and arrived on scene.

The same adverse weather conditions that had led to the casualty becoming stuck had also fortunately dislodged the vessel from the sand bank.

Allowing enough time for the RNLI crews to connect a tow line, removing the yacht from the imminent danger of the beach and the Mostyn channel, a stretch of water heavily frequented by the windfarm support vessels.

Following various conversations between the RNLI and HM Coastguard, it was decided the safest course of action, given the tidal conditions and the lack of headway being made, was to take the casualty vessel to the shelter of Conwy Estuary.

As Rhyl’s all-weather lifeboat had been at sea on training exercises since 9am that morning, it was agreed that Llandudno RNLI would escort the casualty vessel from the Little Orme, into Deganwy Marina.

The coxswain of Llandudno's Shannon class lifeboat made the decision to place two crew members on board the vessel in order to provide support and assistance to its crew, allowing the yacht to proceed under its own power.


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While in the tight Conwy Estuary and with the day light rapidly failing, the engine of the casualty vessel failed, the RNLI crew members on board quickly dropping the anchor while Llandudno all-weather lifeboat joined.

The coxswain decided to rig an alongside tow at this point.

Due to the position of the casualty, close to the entrance of the Mostyn channel, the vessel was considered a danger to navigation and a tow was established allowing Llandudno RNLI lifeboat to safely bring the vessel into the marina at 11.53pm.

Once the vessel was secured in Deganwy Marina, the Llandudno lifeboat was returned to the station for recovery.

RNLI Rhyl coxswain Martin Jones said: “I would like to thank our colleagues from RNLI Llandudno for their assistance in what was an extremely long towing operation.

“A brilliant example of the team work and rigorous training performed by all RNLI stations and crew members, meaning we are ready for all eventualities at all moments.”